By Jason Amisola, Intern
DAVAO CITY, Philippines— The family of Gloria Vergara Alcano, 54, a resident of Purok Balong, Lizada St. was one of the victims of a fire along Ramon Magsaysay Avenue this city on Tuesday.
It was dawn of February 21 when the fire erupted at a boarding house at the intersection of Lizada St. and Ramon Magsaysay Ave. this city, causing panic.
The fire started at 3:00 am but the Bureau of Fire in Davao received the fire call one hour later.
Alcano’s family was sound asleep, tired after a night selling seafoods in the Roxas night market.
“We were too tired. It was a good thing that we woke up from the noise which at first we taught were only a fight among the bystanders,” Gloria told Davao Today in an interview.
She said when they look out they saw the big smoke from the fire.
“Ang among baby nabilin sa balay maong gibalikan kay nataranta naman gyud mi tanan (We even went back inside the house because we left our baby as we panicked),” she added.
Wearing only a boxer shorts, Gloria’s husband, Roldan, 48 ran towards the Bureau of Fire Protection office situated at Alvarez St., Davao City to seek immediate assistance from fire station.
According to the initial investigation of Bureau of Fire Protection, the fire started inside the boarding house of a certain Anthony Merecido and suspected that the electrical fuse box exploded and caused the fire.
Gloria and Roldan Alcano arrived home by around 1:00 a.m where Roldan was hesitant to put down the trays used for selling the fish, as well as the chairs and tables, from their cart.
“Mao to iya gihapon gibaba para malimpyohan. Diay to nasunog, nakatulog lang mi kadyot (He went on to clean them, only to have them burned in the fire because we slept),” she said.
Gloria lives in the house with husband Roldan their children Rea, 15, Roldan, 21, Mary Grace, 23 and Gemini, 24, It was given by the father of Gemini’s soon-to-be husband.
“Tanan namo gamit nasunog, pati ang mga uniform sa kong mga bata maong nang-absent nalang sila. Mangundang gani ilang plano (All our stuff got burned, even the school uniforms of my children that’s why they skipped school. They are even planning to stop schooling),” Gloria said.
Gloria said all their clothes now came from the “ukay-ukay” (used clothes sold in the market), they wore even if unwashed.
“The owner were kind enough to make us choose clothes from their store, whatever it is that fits us we wore it even if it is still unwashed,” she said.
Despite what happened Gloria is optimistic that they will survive the incident.
“Naa man gyud plano ang Ginoo sa amoa.. makabangon ra mi dayon *(God has plans for us, we will be able to stand back again),” she added.
She said they are awaiting the cash assistance from the city government hoping to use the money as capital for their business.
More than 24 hours of firefighting
Fire Inspector Christian Cena, Public Information Officer of Central Fire Station Davao, reported that the fire has been contained around 4 a.m but they received another call at 8:00 a.m that fire broke out anew inside a commercial establishment.
“Upon arriving at the area, we’ve seen little smoke already so we decided to overhaul the area and search for embers,” he said.
The damage was estimated to reach P1.5 million for the residences, and P33 million for the commercial establishments.
Sari-sari store owner Rodulfo Basar, 63 faces the same situation. Basar’s small stall was destroyed by fire.
Basar usually wakes up at 2:00 am but during that time he woke up at 4:00 am.
Basar travels every day for 15 years to sell variety of goods in what is Magsaysay Avenue. He places his goods near the entrance of the narrowed pathway where the house of Alcano family is located.
Restless while sitting in an old chair, Basar said, “Naga ulat nalang ko sa akong ig-agaw kung unsa man ingon sa akong anak kay siya akong gipa kontak (I am waiting for my cousin who i requested to contact my kid).”
For now, he plans to buy goods to sell again and needs to move on after what happened.
Jhong Muyco, who works as a barangay secretary of Barangay 26-C poblacion, said they are also finalizing the names
of the victims, for certification of those who will receive financial assistance.
He said they are coordinating with the City Social Services and Development Office to attend to the affected families. He added that the financial assistance would take a week to process.
Cash assistance will be given amounting to P10,000 for each house owner, P5,000 for renters and P2,000 for both boarders and sharers. Muyco said the barangay is still allocating the 30 percent calamity fund, awaiting approval from higher authorities.
Documents from the barangay showed that a total of 126 families were affected: 27 renters, four sharers and 72 boarders, respectively.
Muyco also added that fire victims were scattered all over the street to find a temporary place to stay. Some stayed on their relatives while others occupied the third floor of the barangay hall and a few preferred to stay on a cemented sidewalk, like the Alcano family. (davaotoday.com)